Dove Puts Real Beauty to a Forensic Test in Powerful Viral Campaign


Only four percent of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful according to Dove, whose latest installment of its famed Real Beauty campaign presents a social experiment to dispell negative personal perceptions. 

The tagline of the campaign, “You are more beautiful than you think,” demonstrates the disparity between a woman’s self-image and a stranger’s perception, playing on the common saying , “You are your own worst critic.”

Created by Ogilvy Brazil, FBI-trained artist Gil Zamora, an forensic expert who has sketched more than 3,000 eye witness reports, first drew portraits of seven women of different ages and backgrounds according to their own description, followed by sketches of those same women according to strangers who had just met them on the same day. 

In the “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” video (watch below) produced for the campaign, the participants say things like, “My mom told me I had a big jaw,” “I kind of have a fat, rounder face,” and “I’d say I have a pretty big forehead.”[more]

“We really weren’t sure what was going on,” Kela Cabrales, a tech teacher and digital artist feautured in the video told The Huffington Post. “They asked me to describe myself and use neutral terms and ‘just the facts’ sort of descriptions.” 

“Watching these women come face to face with the version of themselves in their mind and the version everyone else sees is extraordinary,” notes Adweek. “It’s one of the most original and touching experiments to come from the Campaign for Real Beauty in ages, because instead of making faux protests or annoying graphic designers with bullshit filters, they’re actually empowering individual women to appreciate their inherent beauty, and in turn, allowing us all to wonder if we’ve been judging ourselves too harshly.” 

The Unilever-owned brand refreshed its long-running “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” for this year’s International Women’s Day in March with a social media-promoted Photoshop Action that works like a Trojan Horse, leveraging the element of surprise on those responsible for “unreal beauty” images in advertising.

The brand added a twist in Australia with its “Ad Makeover by Dove” which, via a Facebook app, invited women to replace ads that prey on women’s insecurities with feel-good messages.


Unilever, which also owns Axe, a brand known for its misogynistic ads, evens the score somewhat with this latest Dove campaign, offering a glimmer of hope for young girls growing up today.

“I probably beat myself up way more than I should,” Cabrales told HuffPost. “I see my 8-year-old daughter, and she’s so happy and confident, and naturally exudes this beauty. And when I see her I feel like, ‘Oh god, what pitfalls did I fall into, and how can I keep that from happening to her?’ I don’t know what they are—I wish I did. I really want to protect her.”



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